Hardik Pandya hit a towering six for the winning runs as India clinched the three-match Twenty20 series over Australia with a six-wicket victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.
India at one point needed 72 runs off 36 balls to win before Pandya came to the crease and turned the match around. His 42 runs off 22 balls, including two sixes in the final over, took the visitors to victory with two balls remaining.
India won the first match by 11 runs. The third game is scheduled for Tuesday, also at the SCG.
“He played well at the end. It was an incredible spectacle,” Australia coach Justin Langer said of Pandya. “We know how dangerous he is … it was a great innings. India’s experienced T20 players were too good for us.”
Aaron Finch, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Ashton Agar — all part of Australia’s first-choice T20 side — were unavailable for a variety of reasons.
Pandya heaved the second and fourth balls of the final over over the rope to secure victory, with India finishing on 195-4.
Earlier, Australia had scored 194-5 after being sent in to bat. Stand-in captain Matthew Wade was run out on 58 after a breakdown in communication with batting partner Steve Smith. Smith, who was on three at the time of Wade’s dismissal, scored 46 from 38 balls.
Glenn Maxwell (22) and Moises Henriques (26) also kept the scoreboard ticking over, while Marcus Stoinis helped Australia take 17 runs off the final over of their innings.
Ahead of the match, fast bowler Starc was released from the squad on compassionate grounds due to a family illness.
Finch sustained a hip injury during Australia’s loss in the series opener. Smith was the only other man in the T20 squad to have ever captained Australia, having performed the job in all three forms of the game before the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal in 2018.
Smith was eligible to return to the captaincy, having completed the 24-month leadership ban that Cricket Australia imposed as part of its response to the scandal.